June 18, 2020

Legislative Session
Day 33
Report Snapshot

Two Opportunities to Rollback Testing - SB 367 Needs Your Help

Tax Credit Review Bill Stalls in House Subcommittee
Upcoming Schedule

Friday, June 19 - Legislative Day 34

House Education, 2:30 p.m., 406 CLOB
Two Opportunities to Rollback Testing - SB 367 Needs Your Help

  • Milestones waiver requested from federal testing requirement.

  • House committee considers scaling back testing reform.

Gov. Brian Kemp and State Superintendent Richard Woods announced today that the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) will request a waiver from the federal requirement to administer student assessments in the 2020-2021 school year. The waiver will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, which must approve the request. In their statement announcing the waiver request, Kemp and Woods highlight the need for schools to focus on “remediation, growth, and the safety of students” in the upcoming school year, not high-stakes testing. They also announced that GaDOE is suspending the teacher evaluation (TKES) summative rating for the upcoming school year.

The House Education Committee returns to Senate Bill 367 at its Friday meeting. The bill aims to bring the number of state-required standardized tests closer to the minimum required by federal law. A PAGE analysis of SB 367 is available HERE . In their first discussion of the bill on Wednesday, committee members appeared interested in scaling back some of the changes outlined in the bill. Several questioned whether educator accountability would diminish if testing was reduced.

We encourage you to reach out to committee members in support of testing reform and help them understand the ways educators are accountable for student success regardless of standardized testing. The most effective messages highlight your own experiences working with students. Please use your personal, not school, email account.

House Education Committee Member Contact:

rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov Chair, House Education
mike.cheokas@house.ga.gov Vice Chair, House Education
tommy.benton@house.ga.gov Secretary, House Education
terry.england@house.ga.gov Chair, House Appropriations
jan.jones@house.ga.gov House Speaker Pro-Tempore

-Claire Suggs
Tax Credit Review Bill Stalls in House Subcommittee

  • Concerns about evaluator independence slow bill that brings transparency to tax credits.

The Public Finance and Policy Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee heard Senate Bill 302 at its Thursday meeting. The bill would establish a process to evaluate state tax credits, deductions, rebates and other tax expenditures. State tax expenditures total $9.8 billion. Once passed by the General Assembly, the costs and benefits of tax expenditures currently are not assessed to determine their value to Georgians. One example is the $100 million tax credits directed to private school vouchers each year. The program has never been reviewed and little information about it is collected as described in this PAGE report . Committee members raised concerns about the role of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) in the assessment process. Under SB 302, OPB could conduct analyses itself or contract with an independent evaluator. Some committee members held that it is important to have an independent perspective, unswayed by a future governor’s support for a particular program.

The committee did not vote on the bill, with the committee chair, Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) suggesting revisions could be made to move the bill forward. 

-Claire Suggs
Claire Suggs
Senior Education Policy Analyst
Josh Stephens
Legislative Affairs Specialist
Margaret Ciccarelli
Director of Legislative Services